The Amityville Horror (1979)

Article 1915 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-12-2006
Posting Date: 11-9-2006
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Featuring James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger

A family moves into a house that was the site of a mass slaying a year earlier. They begin to find that there is something evil at work in the house.

You know, a movie doesn’t spawn as many sequels as this one has without having touched a nerve somewhere in the viewing public. I’m sure part of it stems from it having been based on a supposedly true story, which has long since been debunked. It’s no doubt more effective if you believe the story is true; otherwise, this ragtag collection of random and derivative horrors comes across as – well, a ragtag collection of random and derivative horrors. It might have been more effective if it had been shorter; we certainly don’t need as many scenes as we get of James Brolin chopping wood. Still, the movie does have one clever aspect to it which I might not have noticed had I not recalled reading it in some other review, and that is that it pays an unusually amount of attention to the economic horrors of dealing with this house; the scene in which the demonic horrors of the house appear to make off with a wad of money is something new. Yes, it seems a bit silly on the surface, but in its own way it touches upon real-life fears more effectively than the plagues of flies, bleeding walls, vomiting clergymen and gates-to-hell-in-the-basement that pass for the rest of the horrors of this house. Someday, someone is going to take this idea and run with it, and that should be an interesting movie.


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